Show them a “tassina” (little jug) of Merlot, a hunk of mountain cheese and some mortadella, and most Swiss people automatically think of sunny Canton Ticino with its grotto taverns, good food and southern joie de vivre – hence the CHF 0.85 miniature sheet depicting Ticino specialities to mark this year’s Stamp Day in Bellinzona.
Every year, southern
Renaissance of the predecessor of the Merlot grape
The atmosphere in these old rock cellars conjures up times long forgotten. Sitting at one of the moss-covered granite tables, you can almost hear the voices of the villagers who once ate, drank and celebrated here. All these “sottorocci” share a close connection with the wine that used to be made much higher up the valleys where families produced their own earthy “nostrano” using an old grape variety known as “Bondola”. This original rustic wine ousted by the more refined Merlot grape a century ago is currently experiencing a renaissance, just like other tasty morsels from Ticino’s “cucina povera” (poor people’s fare).
Old is back in fashion
So, nowadays there are plenty of “new old things” to be found in
The list could go on and on. As part of the process of discovering its culinary heritage,
“He who eats well, lives well”
People from Ticino can discuss the proper seasoning for “pancetta” (dry-cured pork belly) for hours on end, and the issue of the right kind of rice and the correct stirring time for risotto can also quickly turn into a discourse on cultural history. The same applies to wine,“cicitt” (goat sausage) and “torta di pane” (bread cake), for which every family guards the “only genuine” secret recipe. This is not a matter of nostalgia but a process of awareness that is deeply rooted in the regional soul. According to the people of
text: Martin Weiss, author of “Urchuchi” (www.post.ch)